Sock The First is nearly done. The variegated yarn is from a woman in my knitting group who raises sheep, spins their wool, and dyes the resulting yarn to sell; she gave it to me to see if it would work for socks. Given that it is a non-superwash, two-ply, rather loosely plied yarn, I didn’t think it would make long-wearing socks plus I refuse to hand wash my socks. So I paired it with matching red and blue sock yarns, hoping that they will help the sock maintain its size after washing. It is turning out well! The colors are not ones I would have picked for myself, but they are growing on me. Fun socks FTW!
This is how far I got on the Mountain Trail hat using the skein of Malabrigo Worsted. The yarn is a single ply, and it was definitely not fun knitting the first row of the pattern, given that that first row includes cabling. (We don’t need no stinkin’ ribbing!) Still pondering whether to continue or frog that first round and go for a simpler pattern, like this one or this one. But I really would like to have cables, so I will probably knit this one — it begins with ribbing that flows directly into the cables.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy. I was intrigued when Kym commented that she had watched Dopesick on Hulu and that that was enough about the Sackler family for her. I got the book from the library — no Hulu in this house — but I got bored about halfway through because it was just one heartrending anecdote after another of kids and young adults dying of an overdose. But I picked up the book again after a week or two and it got better. The second half looks at the various treatment plans and programs available in the region of Appalachia described in this book. Of course, all the programs are underfunded and overcrowded and have waiting lists as long as your arm, which meant that many, many addicts died before they could partake. The treatment programs largely fell into two groups: ones that use methadone or other medication to treat the cravings, and ones that preach abstinence (What? Treat addiction with another medicine? No, no, a thousand times NO!) What was of particular interest to me was that the first type, aka MAT, had a much greater success rate than the abstinence only. (Heh. The abstinence method reminded me of those abstinence-only *sex education* pushes that were in contrast to real sex education accompanied with some medicinal or mechanical means of birth control. Guess which one reduced teen pregnancy the most?)
Anyway, the most effective method of getting addicts back into regular life, including holding a job, having mental stability, perhaps marriage and children, and all the other things that make up a normal life was MAT combined with ongoing therapy. That is in line with what I read in Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a book Andrew gave me and that I read last year. The most effective way to *cure* addicts is to administer drugs in controlled situations with sterile needles and measured doses, plus giving the addicts mental health support. However, that method goes against the arrest-’em-and-jail-’em mentality found in many (if not most) law enforcement and judicial settings. But there are effective MAT treatment facilities; the entire country of Portugal, for example, embraced MAT and cut their drug, OD, HIV, and hepatitis 3 problems to near zero. Cost to the taxpayers if all US treatment programs were successful would free up something like $3 billion that could be used for treatment and other benefits. 5★
Severance by Ling Ma. Although this book is copyrighted 2018, the plot featured a pandemic that nearly wipes out humanity. A small group of survivors treks from NYC to the Facility. None of them know what the Facility is beyond what one of them, their de facto leader, tells them about it. Said facility turns out to be a large indoor shopping mall in suburban Chicago. There is rivalry and friction and punishment and ostracization within the group. When one steals a car and leaves, she notices other groups in tents and under overpasses. Clearly, her group are not the only ones who survived. The story does not really have a climax, simply ending as she runs out of gas and begins walking. 3★
Foxconned: Imaginary Jobs, Bulldozed Homes, & the Sacking of Local Government by Lawrence Tabak. This book is probably only of interest to those who live in Wisconsin, where the Foxconn con took place during the reign of Scotty Walker. Or perhaps to those interested in city planning or economic development.
Here is a summary for the rest of you: in 2017, Foxconn announced it was going to build a plant in the US to manufacture large-screen TVs. This is the Chinese electronics mega firm that builds, among other things, the iPhone, and which made the US news when it installed nets outside the on-site high-rise buildings that house their workers. Said workers were so desperate to escape the job that they were committing suicide by jumping from their apartments; the nets were supposed to deny them that alternative. (Increase pay and improve working conditions? Treat their workers as humans? Those ideas were non-starters.) Despite Foxconn’s previous failures to fulfill its promises in other states, Walker and his minions went all-out to land this project in WI.
You can guess the outcome — it is contained in the subtitle of the book. Tabak is a journalist who followed this debacle from the beginning and who wrote about it for several Wisconsin newspapers.
I am not far in this one, an apocalyptic and post-apocalypse story, but I fear I need to start over from the beginning because I cannot keep the characters straight. So far the story is told from at least 10 points of view, each one featuring one character. Even so, the writing and performance are good enough that I will do what is necessary.
Cold Case. Nearly done with season four.
The Great British Baking Show: Holiday. I watched a couple of these — Christmas and New Year’s to be specific — while I decide what to watch next. Suggestions? I prefer something with multiple episodes so I don’t have to make decisions as often.